We had the good fortune of connecting with Sharone Chin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sharone, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Mine is the classic mom story you may be familiar with. After I had my four kids I made an attempt, but couldn’t find a flexible work situation. So I decided to get creative figuring out a solution. When my kids were very young I designed and made jewelry which I sold at trunk shows. This first endeavor helped build my confidence and helped seed fund my present business, HELIADES. As to how HELIADES came to be, I’m obsessed with healthy skin and like to sun protect my skin all the time. I got tired of wearing a running shirt over my outfits and had a tough time finding stylish sun protection apparel that coordinated with my everyday clothes and dresses in my closet. There’s lots of athletic, beach and resort inspired UPF apparel, but I wanted something that felt comfortable and looks really nice, too.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I started my business I knew nothing about the fashion industry, clothing manufacturing, and sun protective fabric. What I knew about sewing and patternmaking I learned from my mom, my grandmother and a sewing instructor at Elisa’s Fabrics! And I needed to learn about manufacturing and textiles. Initially I worked with several different teams to interpret my designs, and the results never were quite what I envisioned. Looking back, it was a waste of time and money. It was more efficient for me to learn how to drape, sample and make the patterns myself.
I also learned a lot about fashion’s impact on the environment. In the beginning I didn’t have plans to be an eco-conscious brand. I didn’t even know what that meant! But now since I do, I made the decision to partner only with fabric suppliers actively committed to reducing their environmental footprint. Our partners need to be certified for the Global Recycled Standard, Bluesign, OEKO-TEX and/or REACH. Essentially this means they do not dump chemicals into the water supply, and are actively working to reduce their environmental footprint every year by using recycled water, solar energy and recycled materials.
So slowly the brand continued to evolve until it became rather niche: We’re a very stylish take on sun protection apparel made with fabric that 1) has a certified UPF50+ rating, 2) the sun protection is woven in and therefore permanent, 3) fabric meets an international standard of safety for direct, prolonged contact on skin, and 4) was made in a textile mill actively committed to reducing its environmental footprint and does not dump chemicals into our global water supply. We are also small batch, made local in California so all this together makes us appealing to a specific type of skin conscious individual.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Definitely my husband and kids for being so encouraging and supportive. My friendly Rebel Mettle Jewelry fans really helped build my creative confidence and inspired me to dream bigger. The proceeds from those jewelry sales helped seed fund HELIADES.